GCR 100 - 13th Edition

Shearman & Sterling

28 November 2012

A new entrant to the Global Elite, Shearman & Sterling has had an impressive year.

18. Shearman & Sterling

Global heads: Beau Buffier, Stephen Mavroghenis
Home jurisdiction: United States
Total size of firm: 840
No. of competition specialists: 51
Percentage of competition specialists: 6
Who’s Who Legal nominees: 9
Partners: 15
Percentage of partners in Who’s Who Legal: 60
Senior associates: 7
Associates: 21
Counsel and consultants: 7
Other: 1
No. of lateral partner hires: 1
No. of partner departures: 0
No. of internal promotions: 0

The strength of its Brussels practice since the addition of several ex-Howrey partners is beginning to show, while the US team continues to excel in New York among other states. That nine of its 15 partners are nominated to Who’s Who Legal gives an indication of Shearman’s repute, despite the competition group making up a small part of the overall firm. Cartel specialist Julian M Joshua joined Shearman’s Brussels practice in March, and global co-head Stephen Mavroghenis was nominated to GCR’s “40 under 40”.

The firm’s global partnership is well-balanced, with several senior partners boasting years of experience across the spectrum of antitrust work. The New York office, led by practice co-head Beau Buffier, has been particularly active on the mergers side. Partners Dale Collins and Jessica Delbaum are counsel to Citigroup regarding the divestment of the EMI music brand, while Wayne D Collins and Lisl Dunlop advised Synthes in its US$21 billion acquisition by Johnson & Johnson. The firm also acted for regular client Thomson Reuters in its purchase of FX Alliance.

In Europe, Shearman represented both Nasdaq and IntercontinentalExchange in the NYSE Euronext/Deutsche Börse saga, first in the companies' attempted takeover of NYSE and then in Nasdaq's opposition to NYSE’s proposed US$9 billion tie-up with Deutsche Börse, which was blocked by the European Commission. The firm also advised Parmalat in its €3.4 billion acquisition by Lactalis, Europe’s largest dairy.

Among the many deals has been plenty of high-profile behavioural work. In Europe, Shearman is advising clients in DG Comp’s flexible packaging, heat stabilisers and Libor cartel investigations, and it’s also representing two companies in appeals at the EU General Court regarding the air cargo and marine hose cartel fines. Across the Atlantic, Shearman recently acted for Barclays in class actions over interchange fees, which were settled. San Francisco-based partner Patrick Robbins also advised AU Optronics executive Lai-Juh Chen in the Californian LCD cartel proceedings; Chen was acquitted.

Brussels

The antitrust practice at Shearman & Sterling is making its mark on the Brussels competition market. After a reshuffle that saw former Howrey partner Götz Drauz leave for Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and Julian M Joshua arrive from Steptoe & Johnson, the firm continues to field a six-person partnership with many well-known names. These include practice head Stephen C Mavroghenis, Hans Jürgen Meyer-Lindemann and Trevor Soames, all of whom, together with Joshua, are Who’s Who Legal nominees.

Merger work has been plentiful over the past 18 months. Shearman advised Parmalat in its €3.4 billion acquisition by Lactalis, Europe’s largest dairy business, and represented construction company Caterpillar in its €8.6 billion acquisition of Bucyrus and its €580 million purchase of MWM.

The firm is also counsel to IntercontinentalExchange and Nasdaq, acting in their US$11.3 billion offer for NYSE Euronext, which was later withdrawn, and also in Nasdaq's opposition to the abandoned merger between NYSE and Deutsche Börse.

Things are busy on the behavioural front too, with Shearman advising clients in DG Comp’s flexible packaging, heat stabilisers and Libor cartel investigations. The firm is also counsel to two companies appealing at the EU General Court against DG Comp cartel fines: Cargolux in the air cargo investigation, and Trelleborg in the marine hose cartel.

United States: New York

The New York practice of Shearman & Sterling has again established itself as one of the deepest and most well-rounded antitrust groups in New York. Seven partners handle antitrust issues in the office, including practice leader Beau Buffier and Who’s Who Legal nominees Wayne D Collins, Lisl J Dunlop and Kenneth S Prince, who has won considerable praise from his colleagues in the bar.

On the merger side, the company has been busy with multiple big-ticket deals, including advising Citigroup on the divestment of its EMI businesses, NASDAQ in its attempted hostile takeover of NYSE Euronext, and ArcelorMittal in its divestiture of Skyline Steel and Astralloy. Thomson Reuters remains an important source of work with its acquisition of FX Alliance as the latest example.

As for contentious matters, Buffier and his colleagues are advising six different clients in cartel investigations. Notably, the group acted for Barclays Bank in recently settled interchange fee antitrust class actions and remains involved in the air cargo litigation for long-standing client Cargolux.

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